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How to Grow Your Newsletter in 2024 [From The Lens of 7 Substack Superstars]

Substack has become the go-to platform for writers, bloggers, journalists, and creators to start their own digital newsletters. With millions of active readers, it offers a huge opportunity to grow your newsletter in 2024 to generate income from your subscribers.

However, with so many high-quality Substacks already out there, it can be daunting for newcomers to gain traction and grow their readership. Even experienced Substackers sometimes hit plateaus in their growth.

To help begin and establish writers maximize their potential on Substack, I’ve compiled insider tips from 7 top-performing “Substack Superstars” who have built hugely popular newsletters on the platform.

These proven growth strategies from Substack’s most successful creators can help grow your newsletter to the next level.

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

  • Write for Yourself First – Ava Bookbear
  • Create a Hero Post – Karen Cherry
  • Find Your Unique Writing Rhythm – Lenny Rachitsky
  • Spend More Time Crafting Each Newsletter – Michael Simmons
  • Leverage the Power of Notes – David McIlroy
  • Get Recommended by Fellow Writers – Kristina God
  • Use a Multi-Platform Approach
  • Key Takeaways
  • Conclusion

Write for Yourself First – Ava Bookbear

Ava Bookbear Newsletter

As per Ava Bookbear, “Substack was my journal, a place for uncategorized thoughts. Right from the beginning I thought it needed to have a theme. It didn’t have one. Two years later, it still doesn’t have one.

For a while, I thought it was going to be self-help, but that wasn’t quite right. All the advice I give is secretly advice for myself (“help-self”, see?). What’s worked for me is just to write about whatever is on my mind, and not worry too much about what category it falls under.” 

Ava Bookbear’s Substack newsletter Bookbear Express has over 24,000 subscribers and amazingly over 1,000 paid subscribers – an incredible conversion rate.

Ava attributes her success to writing about topics she finds valuable without worrying about a specific theme or niche. She writes first for herself, and that authenticity resonates.

This advice is so refreshing because it’s easy to get overly focused on targeting audiences and niches as a strategy. But losing your originality and voice in the process defeats the purpose.

The best approach is to write about topics you genuinely care about, even if they don’t fit neatly into a single category. Your unique thoughts and perspectives will attract the right audience over time.

Create a Hero Post – Karen Cherry

Karen Cherry Substack Newsletter

“I’m a huge fan of the hero post and have one on each of my publications. They generate more sign-ups than all my other posts combined.” – Karen Cherry, PubStack Success

A “hero post” summarizes your newsletter’s central theme. It provides value in a captivating way that compels readers to subscribe after reading. Remember, you need effective copywriting techniques to master your hero post.

Karen Cherry credits hero posts for generating more sign-ups than all her other content combined. She’s not the only one – Tom Orbach of Marketing Ideas says his hero post is the #1 reason readers subscribe.

An impactful hero post makes it crystal clear what your newsletter is about and why readers should join your journey. Pin it to the top of your Substack to make sure every new visitor sees it.

Spend time crafting the perfect hero post that hooks readers and leaves them wanting more of your insights. This high-impact strategy can become a subscriber growth machine.

Find Your Unique Writing Rhythm – Lenny Rachitsky

Lenny Rachitsky Substack newsletter

“A weekly cadence is a great starting point. People often start publishing at too fast a rate and quickly burn out. I can only sustainably write one great post a week. Crazies like Ben Thompson, Noah Smith, and Heather Cox Richardson can do this almost daily. Others can do it only monthly. All these routes are fine. Depending on your goals, even one incredible post a year is very valuable. The key is to find a cadence you can keep up for years.

Remember, quality + consistency = you win, and people don’t want more emails. They want better emails.” – Lenny Rachitsky, Lenny’s Newsletter

Consistency is critical to become a better writer. However, over-taxing yourself with an unrealistic publishing schedule is a recipe for burnout, says Lenny Rachitsky. His newsletter has over 500,000 subscribers, making it one of the largest on Substack.

Lenny suggests starting with a weekly cadence. However, she stresses the importance of finding a unique rhythm you can sustain long-term while still producing high-quality content.

For some, that might mean daily or monthly publishing. For others, even occasional but epic annual posts can provide value.

Don’t obsess over frequency! The key is pairing your ideal publishing flow with consistently super valuable insights your audience loves.

Spend More Time Crafting Each Newsletter – Michael Simmons

Statistics show that spending more time on an article or newsletter increases the time readers spend reading it.” – Michael Simmons, Blockbuster Blueprint

Michael Simmons, whose newsletter “Blockbuster Blueprint” has over 150,000 subscribers, recently cut back from 3 posts per week to 2. Because he wants to dedicate more time to crafting each one.

He suggests spending time:

  • Researching each idea more thoroughly
  • Structuring posts logically with powerful arguments
  • Writing messy drafts to get all your ideas out
  • Editing and refining your writing multiple times

Improving each piece’s depth, structure, and overall quality leads to more engaged readers. As Michael says, “Quality and consistency equals success.”

Leverage the Power of Notes – David McIlroy

“Somehow, I think this aspect of Substack has gone under the radar for a lot of people. My audience growth shot upwards when I started making regular use of the Notes feature.” – David McIlroy, How to Write for a Living

The Notes feature allows Substack writers to post casual updates, links, and commentary separate from their official newsletters. This feature is a massive trick to grow your newsletter in 2024.

David McIlroy (whose Substack grew by over 1,400 subscribers in 2 months) says utilizing Notes played a huge role in that rapid growth by allowing more subscriber interaction.

Notes creates a social, community-like environment to grow his newsletter where you can engage with readers outside of polished newsletters. It makes you feel more accessible as a writer.

Leveraging the above feature can help attract and retain more subscribers over time.

Grow Your Newsletter Via Recommendation by Fellow Writers – Kristina God

Kristina God - How to Grow Your Newsletter

Instead of just suggesting writers use Substack’s automated Recommendations feature, Kristina God of Kristina’s Newsletter created a collaborative spreadsheet where writers can manually recommend each other’s newsletters to relevant audiences.

Getting personally recommended by fellow writers who believe your content aligns with their audience’s interests can be a subscriber growth jackpot.

Kristina’s innovative project facilitates this kind of strategic collaboration. But you can also directly reach out to mutually beneficial writers to exchange recommendations.

Cross-promotions with complementary yet non-competing newsletters can become powerful growth accelerators.

Use a Multi-Platform Approach to Grow Your Newsletter

While Substack should be your content hub, having a presence on additional platforms like Medium, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and more expands your reach tremendously.

  • Ava Bookbear says most of her new Substack subscribers come from Twitter.
  • Medium has driven a lot of Substack sign-ups for many writers.
  • Other writers thrive on other platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook.

Do experiment. See which platforms your ideal audience really spends time on. Then, focus on consistently repurposing your Substack content to those channels. In this way, you can direct interested readers back to subscribe and eventually grow your newsletter.

A multi-platform approach gives you the largest possible audience footprint from which to attract engaged subscribers.


With these proven tips from the Substack Superstars, you can start building your own thriving community and grow your newsletter subscribers. Trust in the quality of your thinking and writing. Commit to consistency and continuous improvement. Stay resilient through ups and downs. Do this, and your newsletter is sure to find its tribe of raving fans who eagerly await each new issue.

Remember, real success on Substack stems from the uniqueness of your voice and perspective.

Isabelle Catoni
Isabelle Catoni
Isabelle is a blogger and a professional SEO content writer. She has a degree in finance but her passion for playing with words forced her to become a writer. In her free time she loves exploring AI developments.


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